Understanding the Interior Design Process

If it's your first time working with a designer for a home or commercial space, you might not understand everything that goes into the process. Understanding the project as a whole and each phase of design can ultimately save you time and money. Once you know your role and the roles of others involved in your interior design project, it will make the process much more enjoyable for you.

The first step is to find a design firm you feel comfortable with and that you trust has an experienced and respected team of architects, artisans and contractors. Each design firm works differently, and every project is varies with regards to how many phases you'll go through. If your project is on a smaller scale, you might not have all the phases outlined in this article, but in general, the major phases of a design project are:

1. Schematic Design
2. Design Development
3. Construction Documents
4. Bidding Phase
5. Construction Administration

Stages of Interior Design – Explained

1. Schematic Design: This is first stage of the design process when the scope of the project is defined. As the client, you'll be very engaged in this part of the process with the designer and sometimes the architect, if necessary. The designer (and architect) will provide rough sketches and show materials to ensure the concept is headed in the direction you envision. This phase can take anywhere from weeks to months, depending on the firm you work with and the extent of the project. It can take longer if you don't have any idea what type of design you're looking for. In that case, the design firm can help steer you in the right direction.

2. Design Development: The next stage aims to turn concepts into concrete action items. This stage will help to identify any problem areas that may not have been apparent upfront. In design development, the architect and interior design firm creates initial architectural drawings and material specifications. You will be involved throughout this process as the design firm will need your feedback to zero in on the details and discuss solutions to any problems. Once the direction of the design project is approved by you, the next step is construction documents.

3. Construction Documents: In this phase, the preliminary drawings that were created in the design development phase of the project are now turned into working documents, refined for accuracy and code requirements. All the materials to be used in the project are finalized and the specifications are prepared. Once this is complete, the documents serve as a tool to build out the project. You won't be involved much in this phase due to the technicality of it, and the timeline depends on the scope of the project.

4. Bidding Phase: In the bidding phase, the construction documents are sent to potential building contractors so they can prepare bids. The bid is an estimate of the cost and time it will take to complete your design project. You …

Lawn and Garden Trailers and Wagons, Which is Best?

With the lawn and garden season rapidly getting underway, many people will be looking for a lawn trailer or wagon to pull behind of their lawn tractor. Most folks do not understand the differences between a wagon and a trailer and use these terms to describe the same piece of equipment even though they are very different.

Both items, a lawn wagon and a lawn trailer and used for the same purpose, hauling material around behind of your lawn tractor. But what makes these units different and which is best for your jobs is really a matter of personal taste.

A lawn trailer has a fixed position tongue which attaches to the back of your garden tractor. These units many have one of two axles depending on the size of the load you have purchased it for. With the fixed tongue, this makes backing the trailer up very easy, but the downside to this type of unit for the home gardener is the tongue has to be left hitched to your tractor or propped up with something if you wish to leave a load in the trailer.

A lawn wagon has a steerable front end, which allows the wagon to track directly behind of your lawn tractor. The wheels on a lawn wagon are normally spaced at the front and the rear of the unit, where a lawn trailer, if it is a tandem axle unit will have the wheels narrowly spaced in the middle or towards the back of the trailer. The wide spacing of the wheels on a lawn wagon allows the home gardener to unhitch the wagon from the tractor and use the wagon as a platform for potting plants and other tasks. The major downside to the lawn wagon is the steerable front end makes the wagon very difficult to back up.

Which is best? It depends on what you intend to use the unit for. If you will be having to back into an area several times, I would suggest that the lawn trailer would be your best bet. If you like the idea of ​​being able to use the unit as a mobile work platform and backing up is not an issue, then the lawn wagon would suit your needs the best.

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Tips For Shopping For Cotton Bathroom Rugs

Finding cotton rugs isn't rocket science. All you have to do is type "cotton bathrom rugs" into a search engine and voila you'll have thousands of results from online and offline stores. Any one of these suppliers will be more than happy to sell you anything you wish from their selection or rugs.

So the first step in finding the perfect cotton rug for your needs begins with making up your mind about what you're looking for in the first place. Smart consumers always comparison shop to make sure they're getting the best deal – even it's not a big ticket item it's always a good idea to compare prices in at least 3 different stores. There's nothing worse than finding the same product at 50% off in another store one hour after you bought it.

Another important thing to consider when shopping for cotton bathroom rugs is the importance of safety. More accidents occur in the bathroom than in any other room in the home. It does not matter how beautiful the colors and design patterns are, if your bathroom rug is not safe, you do not need it. Make sure that the rug you select is slip resistant for you and your children, if you have any. You can always buy slip resistant coating in sheets if you find a rug that you love but doesn't seem to be safe.

Aside from being slip resistant, you should select a bathroom rug that is water absorbent and quick drying. This creates another hazard if the rug remains wet for a long period of time after you step out of the bath or shower. Taking care of safety in your bathroom is critical; your life could, quite literally, depend on it.

Once you have taken care of safety features, think about the color and design of your cotton bathroom rugs. Many stores and manufacturers offer a wide variety of selections to choose from. Also, you can buy your rug as part of a matching shower curtain and towel set to make sure your bathroom stays consistently beautiful.

You'll often see rugs advertised as 100% cotton but this isn't always the truth. Usually you're buying a cotton blend which is no problem – as long as you're not paying inflated prices for it. 100% cotton generally costs more, depending on the manufacturer. Even the color can make a huge difference in the price so if it looks to good to be true …. well it probably is folks.

This is why shopping around before making a purchase is the best idea. You will know what to expect and be able to make the right selection based on your own knowledge, not on what the salesperson or store advertising is trying to sell you. Just because the bathroom rugs cost more does not necessarily mean that you are getting the highest quality.

If you decide to make your purchase online, know what the return policy is, and whether or not a warranty …

Ideas That Will Gear You Up For Kitchen Decoration

Every home says something, so does every room in a house. The living room reverberates with your laughter and the untainted fun that you have with your family members and friends. The bed room is all about your whispers, some romantic silences between you and your spouse, and a comfortable sleep. The dining room witnesses the daily breakfast and also a satisfying Sunday lunch and dinner with your family. The bathroom is a platform for your random songs and showers. Last but not the least; the kitchen room is in itself a charismatic land. The center of all cuisines, be it Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Irish or Japanese. It also tells us about what palatable dish your mom loves to cook. It rings of vitality, entertainment and the love of a wife, a mother, a daughter and a woman.

When you plan to revamp your kitchen, you must take into account a number of things. However, when you plan to do up your kitchen, it should have a light mood ambience. The soul of your household must not get affected. To make sure, you can consult an able home or interior decorator or even a specialist. You can discuss your ideas with those who are dealers and manufacturers of bespoke Kitchens. In conjunction to both the ideas, you must add a great kitchen design. You must remember one thing that only a professional can give the perfect decorative touch. Some of the common place tips include:

Color and Texture – Both color and texture of any interior must compliment your personality, choice and mood. People usually believe that dark colors are weighty while light colors are cheery. Bold colors tend to lessen the space, while light colors widen the space. There are various textures available these days. To accentuate the appeal of the kitchen, you can experiment on textures like wood or brick.

Experiment – Clubbing the contemporary and traditional is a great way to mix and match. As a result, you will find that your kitchen wears an ethnic yet chic look. If you can carry out this idea successfully, then you will gain nothing but appreciation. People might get inspired and covet your kitchen décor. You can also ask the contractors to paint your wardrobes and kitchen tops.

Make Use of the Space – You can also make a wise you of the space in your kitchen. Since, kitchen is not only a place for cooking but other activities too; you can install some good show-piece or something which is functional as well.

To decorate your kitchen the way you want, you must shop for the accessories. For affordable kitchens and accessories, you can do a bit of research on the internet.

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6 Benefits of Using Stones in Interior and Exterior of Building

The use of stone in interior and exterior applications is widely gaining popularity all over the world. Be it commercial building or private houses, owners prefer the use of stones to enhance the beauty of the building. Apart from domestic and corporate use the stone is liberally used in the buildings where the architecture plays a key role in the business like heritage hotels, restaurants and showrooms.

Here are 6 major reasons of the growing popularity of stones in construction of buildings:

Exquisite Visual Appeal

The stone can be employed in variety of interior and exterior applications. The Jalli, pillars or panels made of stone have a distinct air of vintage that add to the overall visual impression of your building. Besides, the modern architects and interior designers have extensively experimented with various types of stones to be used in interior as well as exterior applications. Hence the material that was already famous for its strength is now also used for its designer value.

Negligible Maintenance

Not only does it offer a unique, eye caressing look to the entire building, but also requires negligible maintenance and care. They do not get smudged or stained easily. Due to its characteristics the stone's surface provides a sufficient protection.

Onetime Expense

One of the best advantages of employing stones in your interior and exteriors is that it requires onetime expense. Its long lasting nature eliminates all worries and you just need to pay a single time expense of stone, fixing material and labor charge.

Durability

Unlike paint or vitrified tiles that have a life of 2-3 years, stone is a long lasting material that will maintain its charm through decades. Besides, unlike vitrified tiles the stone does not show apparent effects of ageing. Its rugged surface does not catch the dust easily or apparently shows the effects of the same.

Stone Cladding

The dry cladding of stone provides a complete protection against stone falling off over a periods of time. The change in temperature causes stone to contract and expand that also affects its grip. As the stones grip is weakened the water, sand and moisture start seeping into the cement joints and ultimately it falls off the wall. It can be extremely detrimental and can result in fatal accident especially if the stone is clad on building facade

The Stone Can Remain Intact For Long

Most of the historical buildings have employed an extensive use of stone and have been standing intact through the centuries. Besides, the walls of old forts were almost entirely made of stones. Not only did they provide an efficient protection from the intruders during that time but till today these walls and forts are unaffected by the extremities of weather and effects of time. That strengthens the stone's position as a durable building material.

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Garden Gazebos – A History

The word "gazebo" has always conjured up an image of a circular garden pavilion in my mind. The walls and roof are made of white lattice and the wooden floor is polished a vivid red. The sun is always shining and for some reason, the time period is always around the 19th century, with people drinking tea and eating scones. Gazebos have several names eg pagodas, summerhouses, screen houses pergolas and arbors. Their popularity has risen and fallen nearly as often as the tides. At the moment they are experiencing a popularity resurgence as people crave the illusion of peace that they bring.

Their existence can be traced back thousands of years to the earliest gardens all around the world. They did not start start out as garden structures, but were built as towers or lanterns on the roofs of houses. Their only aim was to provide the owner with spectacular views of the neighborhood and surrounding areas. It was only years later that they were built on the ground as havens of peace and pavilions from which one could admire one's garden.

The earliest known gazebos were in Egypt about 5000 BC. They belonged to royalty who believed their gardens to be paradise on earth. They also believed that they could take their gardens with them into the afterlife. In order to do so they had to have the layout for the garden depicted in a mural in the tomb. The earliest mural that has been found in a tomb dates back to 1400 BC. Some historians and archaeologists have speculated that Egyptians used the gazebos as small temples to commune with their gods.

Gazebo-like structures were built in Rome and ancient Greece. They were built to resemble small temples, often complementing the larger temple dedicated to their gods. The building material of choice was marble. As Rome's population increased and space became an issue, the rich and important in society began building summerhouses along the Mediterranean coasts. Gazebos featured most prominently in these coastal getaways.

Persian gazebos were inspired by Islamic architecture and referred to as "kiosks". These forms of gazebos could be anything from colored tents to elaborate 2-story structures with marble columns and golden seats. As Persia suffered from very hot summers, many gazebos were built across pools or streams so that the cool water would help regulate the temperature inside. Pagodas were also used as tombs for their owners.

Pagodas in China were elaborate and ornate. In Japan they were called teahouses and were used for their Tea Ceremonies. They were considered as places to rest, meditate, and achieve spiritual harmony as well as being ideally situated to admire the beauty of the garden. Japan's view of the pagoda is very much in line with the western view as places of peace and quiet reflection away from the main house. In the late 18th century the architecture of Chinese pagodas became very fashionable in Europe and turned up all across the continent.

The Renaissance saw …

More Feng Shui Bathroom Myths Exposed

The misguided author of an internet article on bathrooms puts forth the argument that bathrooms represent water and that this can somehow correlate with a person feeling like they are "drowning" in some part of their life. First of all, most people do not spend enough time in their bathroom for it to be considered a major influence on one's life. Other areas, such as a bedroom or home office or living room carry much more impact on a person's well-being. If a person spends an excessive amount of time in their bathroom, this might indicate a physical or mental disability way beyond the scope of Feng Shui.

Next, even though the bathroom contains a toilet with some water in it, I wouldn't call this an over whelming amount of water. I have more water in my dining room fountain. Nor should anyone be concerned with the water that enters the bathroom briefly when showering or using the sink. This is an example of someone really not understanding Five Element Theory. In fact, the majority of hard surfaces in a bathroom (like tile and porcelain) are the earth element. There is no need to be concerned about a bathroom representing too much water, but if there were, all the earthen surfaces would "control" the water. In the cycle of the Elements, Earth blocks or dominates water.

The misguided author continues to state that mirrors are water and should be removed from a bathroom. First of all, a mirror may reflect like water, but they are more the metal element than any other element, especially ones with a silver backing. The original mirrors from centuries ago were made of polished brass or bronze and the bathroom is one of the BEST locations for mirrors. Often, people have sleep disturbances when mirrors are in a bedroom, so one of the next most convenient locations for mirrors is right in the bathroom. The misguided author continues to state that other metallic fixtures like faucets and metal towel racks be removed from the bathroom! This is so outrageous and ridiculous; I wonder if the misguided author thinks that using an Outhouse in the backyard would be "better" Feng Shui.

As the article gets more and more delusional, the misguided author states that crystals placed in the bathroom are representative of water and should be removed too. Are you smarter than a fifth grader? I think that even a young child will recognize that crystals (like rose quartz or amethyst) are stones, rocks, in other words the earth element. Not water.

More bad advice rounds out the erroneous article by stating that bathrooms should not be blue in color because that is yet more water. This is another example of someone being clueless in regards to Five Element Theory. In authentic Feng Shui practices, we can determine a range of good colors for any room in the house, including the bathroom, based on the unique features such as year built, compass reading, and the location …

Maintenance of the Kitchen's Most Versatile Equipment – Tilting Pan

Versatility of the Equipment
The tilting pan can be used for almost any task that has to be done in the kitchen. Foodservice operators use it for cooking, pan-frying, browning, roasting and much more. One has to name the cooking style needed and the tilting skillet is all ready for use. Whether it is cooking stews, soups, pasta, rice or sauces or pan frying food-dishes like fish fillets, donuts, fried chicken or French fries, the skillet does it all. Browning foods or simmering foods in large quantities in it becomes very easy. It can be used as an oven too to roast or bake several poultry or meat varieties of menu items. Steaming, thawing or using it as a griddle to prepare grilled vegetables, burgers, bacon, sausages, pancakes and many more items is another aspect of its functionality.

The tilting skillet comes in several capacities and several finishes. Though normally, it is made of stainless steel, other materials can be used for the cabinet components. One can go in for the countertop models or choose from the ones that rest on the floor. Floor units come with crank or electric tilting mechanisms while those of the countertop models are manual. However, when the tilting skillet is present in the kitchen it is very necessary to have an adequate number of kitchen storage bins and industrial storage bins so that you have ample space for its placement and functioning. Considering its versatility, it is but quite natural to ensure that this workhorse of the kitchen is kept in top shape all through its working life.

Maintenance Tips
Simple tips that will help to extend the working life of this equipment are given below:
• Never use high heat on the skillet when it is empty. Repeated use of high heat will compromise the heating surface or cause warping to occur.
• New tilting skillets have to be seasoned with oil before regular use. The bottom of the skillet has to be covered with oil and heated at a few minute intervals as this will help to avoid sticking issues and make for easier cleaning.
• The food debris should be cleaned off from the bottom of the skillet by warming water in it using residual heat.
• Cleaning can be done effectively by using a nylon brush and warm, soapy water. At no times, harsh cleaners or rough materials to be used as this can damage the pan.
• During the cleaning, care has to be taken to ensure that water does not get sprayed on the mechanical components of the equipment.
• It is better to use the appropriate shaped utensils that go with the pan so as to avoid the pitting on the skillet.

The tilting pan is a very important piece of equipment of every commercial kitchen and has to be given the appropriate care and consideration it deserves.

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Interior Design Best Selling Books

Holly Becker writes Decorate: 1000 Professional Design Ideas for Every Room in Your House. In this book, top designers come together to share over 1000 tips on how you can change your room and do it to meet your budget. You can get inspiration from the beautiful colored examples in the book, photos of bathrooms, bedrooms, kitchens, parlors, as well as checklists, shortcuts, and cost cutting methods, so that you will be sure to find something in there that meets your eye as well as an explanation of how to make it possible in your own home.

Christine Lemieux writes Undecorate, a book that heralds a brand new kind of style that seeks to push aside the stuffy professional styles of today and bring their own personality into their home. The book profiles about twenty homes all over the nation and shows how it came to be the way it was by tying it in with the owner's particular personality. Following the interests of car fanatics who turn their master bedroom into an air stream trailer to a couple that makes their house a log house, to someone who creates and English manor, to a variety of other kinds of strange creations that reveal the personality of the builder, this book will show you how to accomplish the same feat.

Domino: The Book of Decorating, written by Deborah Needleman is a book that offers step by step guides to decorating your rooms. No matter what styles you prefer, the book will have something in that vein as well as tips on how to mix and match styles, too. The Domino team contributes their own personal design efforts so you can see how they transformed their own rooms and in what kinds of styles they decided to work in. This is a great book if you are interested in redoing a room in your house.

My Passion for Design by Barbara Streisand is a beautifully illustrated persona tour of the great star's homes and collections. From the Broadway stage, television and film stardom, her work as a director, and her work in the recording studio, Barbara has been an iconic figure with an extraordinary voice and immense talent. Now, in her first book, Barbara gives readers a glimpse into the taste that has inspired her beautiful home. This book focuses on the architecutre and construction of her home and contains many photographs of rooms she decorated herself. Other illustrations include the gardens she planted on her California coastal land. She gives us a look into the world of on of the most beloved stars.

Charlotte Moss Decorates: The Art of Creating Elegant and Inspired Rooms by Charlotte Moss gives a singular vision through a beautiful collection of her acclaimed rooms. Moss has led a celebrated career in the interior design world. Her book offers readers a glimpse into the methods behind her magic. For each room that is featured, Moss breaks the numerous stages of the design process, revealing storyboards and …

Herb Garden Ideas

Fresh herbs are the ultimate when it comes to cooking and many people now a days want them. What better way to enjoy fresh herbs in your kitchen than ones that are just minutes old. There is no deep dark secrets when it comes to growing herbs. In fact herbs are really very easy to grow and you don't need a large space to grow them in either. Most herbs can be grown in an area no bigger than a window box. Actually a window box would be an ideal place to grow a kitchen herb garden. There is enough room to grow parsley, basil, sage, or cilantro and it can all be in a compact container just outside the kitchen door.

Many herbs can even be grown on the window sill of a sunny window in the house. The trick is to keep the herbs picked and to start new ones before the plants start to get too woody. Basil is an excellent window plant. When growing herbs inside or out remember two things the first is herbs do not like a lot of fertilizer and most herbs like moist soil but it needs to dry quickly wet soil will do most herbs in.

How about a strawberry jar herb garden plant the top with a tall herb such as dill and then fill in the side with creeping plants like oregano, creeping thyme, or creeping rosemary. They will grow out the sides and hang down. just remember to keep the creeping plants trimmed to keep producing new leaves. You may substitute the plant in the top with something else such as sage if you like.

When planting herbs such as cilantro and basil it is good to do succession plantings maybe about 3 weeks apart so that you will have fresh leaves throughout the growing season. Cilantro and basil will go to seed quickly if not picked often and the flowers removed.

The main thing most herbs have in common is that they do not like wet feet and really do not need fertilizer as I mentioned earlier. Fertilizer will change the growth habits of the herbs and effect it's strength and flavor. Good soil will provide all the nutrients necessary to grow a productive herb garden. Also be careful what you plant as some herbs can become rather aggressive and take over the whole area chocking out everything else. Mint is a perfect example. Mint is very invasive so if you want to grow it I suggest that you grow mint in a container and never in the ground.

A good herb garden will pay big dividends in as your family and friends will enjoy the great taste coming out of your kitchen. You will have the satisfaction of knowing you are using fresh homegrown herbs to feed them.

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